6 August 2003 SCO Group will charge $699 per microprocessor from companies running Linux servers, rising to $1,399 after 15 October if they refuse to comply with SCO’s licensing demands.
The details were released in a conference call last night by SCO Group CEO Darl McBride. It comes two weeks after SCO sent letters to the world’s biggest 1,500 companies demanding that they buy a licence from SCO or face the consequences.
Furthermore, SCO has suggested that it will extend its licensing program to desktop and embedded systems as well, despite the fact that its Linux intellectual property claims refer only to those features in the Linux kernel 2.4 and 2.5 that made Linux “enterprise class”, such as symmetric multi processing (SMP) clustering.
Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager of SCOsource, SCO’s intellectual property licensing division which was set-up at the beginning of the year, also reiterated his claims that Linux contains numerous lines of code copied directly from Unix intellectual property owned by SCO.
“We have identified numerous files of unlicensed Unix System V code and Unix System V derivative code in the Linux 2.4 and 2.5 kernels,” said Sontag.
At the same time, Linux developer and open source luminary Bruce Perens warned companies against paying up, as SCO’s licensing demands contravene the general public licence (GPL) under which Linux is distributed.
The release of details of SCO’s licensing plans comes a day after the filing of a lawsuit by open source software supplier Red Hat, which accused SCO of “unfair and deceptive actions” in its campaign against Linux.
However, plans to widen its intellectual property battle will likely draw fire from a range of major companies, particularly the Japanese consumer electronics companies, such as Sony, which is a big user of embedded Linux, and Sharp, which uses Linux as the operating system of choice in its range of handheld computers.
With the original court case against IBM not even scheduled for trial until 2005 at the earliest, it will take some time before the dispute is resolved either way.